Adelaide, GWS, and Geelong Keep Their Spots in the Top 4
The GWS Giants remarkable resilience was the story of the Indigenous round in the AFL. Traveling west to Perth with a severely shorthanded squad, the Giants surprised West Coast Eagles 98-90 after trailing nearly the entire contest. Toby Greene rose up in a whiplash final term to help put the Giants on top. Greene finished with 25 disposals, 2 goals, and 3 behinds, a key performance that was still below his potential best. Callan Ward, Josh Kelly, and Dylan Shiel were key disposal winners, while Jon Patton and Jeremy Cameron kicked a pair of goals. The West Coast midfield was again solid and they had seven goal kickers, led by Josh Kennedy with 3, but their leaky backline allowed GWS to break through and gain a significant advantage in inside 50’s, an advantage that was too much to overcome. Kennedy and Luke Shuey also picked up injuries during the game and could be key outs next week for the Eagles.
The Giants remained behind the Adelaide Crows on the ladder, as the South Australians destroyed Fremantle in a game that featured heavy rain. The Crows never trailed and beat Fremantle 143-43, holding the Dockers to just 2 goals at half time. The Crows won every statistical category as Rory Sloane and Rory Atkins returned to their best, notching 30+ disposals, while the Crouch brothers also had 30+ disposals each. Andy Otten kicked four goals, while Eddie Betts and three other Crows added three goals of their own, including Rising Star nominee Wayne Milera. It was a miserable night for the Dockers, Lachie Weller was their lone bright spot, but they remain genuine contenders to make the top 8, despite suffering some atrocious losses to be bottom four in percentage they sit at 7th in the ladder.
Patrick Dangerfield magic helped Geelong escape Port Adelaide 81-79 in a game that was close throughout. The Cats trailed most of the final term, but Charlie Dixon failed to convert a set shot for the Power, running out of time on the shot clock, and then Geelong struck with a minute and a half left to play. The Selwood’s were huge in their own way, as Scott notched a team leading 17 tackles, while Joel had 33 disposals, joining Mitch Duncan who had 31 as the Cats leading ball winners. Dangerfield was their only multi-goal scorer. Ollie Wines and Jared Polec had good games in notables for the Power, but coming off their bye week only Robbie Gray had multiple goals, while Paddy Ryder’s solid ruckwork wasn’t enough to help the Power prevail. The Cats remain third in the ladder.
Hawks Save Their Season With Sydney Win
In a battle of the two sides that have underperformed expectations the most this season, it was the Hawthorn Hawks who saved their season with an 81-75 win to move to 4-6. The Hawks veterans, including indigenous player Shaun Burgoyne stepped up late against the younger Swans, their resolve making all the difference. Hawthorn led most of the game and was moving the footy better through the ground, but Lance Franklin helped the Swans take a lead in the final term, his five goals a best on ground performance. Dan Hannebery, Josh P. Kennedy, and Isaac Heeney also notable solid performers for the Swans. The Hawks got a late game winning goal from captain Jarryd Roughead, his only goal of the night, while Luke Breust led them with three goals. It was a game decided by the closest of margins, and Hawthorn generated more meaningful chances.
Bulldogs Separate from St. Kilda
St. Kilda fans were delivered a reality check, as the Western Bulldogs thumped the Saints 90-50, pulling away in the second half in a classy performance. Jake Stringer kicked 5 goals in a performance that made all the difference. Mitch Wallis and Jason Johannisen were the key ball winners for the Dogs. St. Kilda had more of the ball than the Dogs, but they didn’t generate major scoring with it, they had no multi-goal scorers, and 30+ disposal showings from Leigh Montagna, Jack Newnes, and Seb Ross weren’t enough to prevent a big defeat.
Tigers Snap Losing Streak With Dreamtime Win
Richmond beat Essendon 81-66 in the Dreamtime At the G’ game, snapping their streak of close losses to move to 5th in the ladder. The Tigers had a massive advantage of 71-42 in inside 50’s, and although Essendon had more disposals, they struggled to move the ball forward through the ground. The Tigers would have won by more if they had better goal kicking efficiency. With the scores level well into the final term, Toby Nankervis was among key players for the Tigers as they pulled away and didn’t look back. Jack Riewoldt and Josh Caddy both kicked more behinds than goals (2 each), but Dustin Martin, Brandon Ellis, and Trent Cotchin (30+ disposals each) were key to keeping the ball in the forward half of the ground. For the Bombers, David Zaharakis had 35 disposals, and Joe Daniher had 3 goals, but the Tigers Alex Rance and Bachar Houli were mostly able to keep the Bombers in check in their own forward 50.
Strong Second Half Propels Demons over the Suns
The Melbourne Demons were plodding along against the struggling Gold Coast Suns through three quarters, but nine goals in the final term helped the Demons emerge winners 122-87. The Suns had built a lead for most of the game despite being outworked in most of the stats, and at one point they led by 35 points without Gary Ablett on the field. Aaron Hall had 29 disposals, Brandon Matera had 3 goals, and three Suns, including Michael Barlow, had 2 goals. The Demons were led by Clayton Oliver (35 disposals), Jeff Garlett (5 goals), and Nathan Jones (27 disposals, 3 goals) on the day as their comprehensive second half showing controlling the footy moved them to 9th in the ladder.
North Staves off Carlton Comeback Attempt
Despite leading by more than 50 in the second quarter against Carlton, North Melbourne escaped with a meager 113-96 victory against the Blues to move to 4-6 on the season. Carlton never gave up and played a physical game, leading tackles, and disposals. Bryce Gibbs (38 disposals and 3 goals) led the Blues fightback from a terrible start, Sam Docherty (31 disposals, 2 goals) was also key, but in the end it was a North Melbourne side led by Taylor Garner, Mason Wood, and Shaun Higgins (2 goals each) that kept their season alive. Captain Jack Ziebell notching 29 disposals and again showing that North Melbourne is a dangerous team to face, even if they aren’t one of the best teams in the competition this year.
Collingwood Drops Brisbane
Collingwood did what they were supposed to do against Brisbane Lions, dominating play to defeat the Lions 129-84 on the back of a strong second half. The Lions didn’t have enough of the footy, and didn’t get near enough inside 50’s to remain within touch late although Dayne Beams (28 disposals, 3 goals) certainly tried his best. Dayne Zorko having a 28/2 game as well to help lead the Lions. The Magpies Jamie Elliot and Darcy Moore combined for seven goals, while the Magpie engine room of Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Adams, and Treloar had more than 120 disposals between them, the Magpies joining numerous other sides at 4-6 on the season.